Cross-country trip via Amtrak

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
User avatar
Posts: 1001
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:21 am
Location: Lake Merritt

Re: Cross-country trip via Amtrak

Post by Jazztonight »

bhsince87 wrote: Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:21 pm If I recall correctly, a few years ago, poster here did a sort of real time, rolling story of his journey across the country on train.

I can't seem to find it though. :(
Thanks for remembering it! I've posted the link.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
Posts: 196
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:50 pm

Re: Cross-country trip via Amtrak

Post by westcoast »

Did that several years ago from New York City to Portland Oregon. I booked standard seat to Chicago and it was very comfortable and sleep very well in it. The negative part was the bathroom, very dirty all the time. I had a sleeping compartment from Chicago to Portland it was great. Very comfortable bed with shared bathroom and shower with a lock for private use.
Posts: 148
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:51 pm

Re: Cross-country trip via Amtrak

Post by rockonhumblepie »

Train travel is a very relaxing and a treat for the eye.

But until Amtrak and the Freight roads turn on PTC ( Positive Train Control) nationwide I refuse to step onboard.

Just amazing that it was mandated in 2015 and still we go bump in the night.Our priorities as a nation make you wonder. :confused
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 69817
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Cross-country trip via Amtrak

Post by LadyGeek »

I removed an off-topic post regarding Amtrak's lobbying efforts to improve its funding. As a reminder, see: Politics and Religion
In order to avoid the inevitable frictions that arise from these topics, political or religious posts and comments are prohibited. The only exceptions to this rule are:
  • Common religious expressions such as sending your prayers to an ailing member.
  • Usage of factual and non-derogatory political labels when necessary to the discussion at hand.
  • Discussions about enacted laws or regulations that affect the individual investor. Note that discussions of proposed legislation are prohibited.
  • Proposed regulations that are directly related to investing may be discussed if and when they are published for public comments.
Please stay focused on the travel aspects.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.
User avatar
Topic Author
Posts: 1853
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:11 pm
Location: Central Oregon

Re: Cross-country trip via Amtrak

Post by catdude »

Strummer wrote: Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:59 amAlso — and I think this is a good Boglehead tip — the cars with roomettes have a coffee maker at one end which always has a fresh pot on, as one of the amenities provided for roomette occupants. If one were to carry a flask of whiskey, one would be able to enjoy an Irish coffee in one's room at cocktail hour without having to brave the crowds and fees of the lounge car.

Have fun!
Say no more. I love Irish coffee! You've sold me on the idea of making the trip...
catdude | | "I yield to the gentleman for a few feeble remarks." (Congressman Thaddeus Stevens)
User avatar
Topic Author
Posts: 1853
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:11 pm
Location: Central Oregon

Re: Cross-country trip via Amtrak

Post by catdude »

Thanks again, everyone, for your responses. Lots of good specific info here. The trip is still about six months away, but I've bookmarked this thread and will refer back to it this winter when I'm doing the planning for my epic trip by rail.
catdude | | "I yield to the gentleman for a few feeble remarks." (Congressman Thaddeus Stevens)
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:01 pm

Re: Cross-country trip via Amtrak

Post by Oddlot »

Since you've got some time before your trip, I suggest the book "Waiting on a Train" by James McCommons. He spent a year riding the Amtrak rails and wrote about the experience. Now ten years old, so some aspects may be out of date.
My personal Amtrak experience is limited-- loved the lounge cars and scenery; didn't care for the food (settled for the microwave pizza on the kids menu) or sleeping accommodations. On my last trip between Chicago and California, it took me several days to shake the motion sensation from the rough rails.
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:37 am
Location: Donutville, WI

Re: Cross-country trip via Amtrak

Post by missingdonut »

catdude wrote: Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:27 am Have any of y'all ever travelled by train across the U.S? What was the experience like? Did you get a regular seat, or a sleeping compartment? If the latter, how comforable was it? Please share your experiences, I'd love to hear about them. Thanks!
I took the Empire Builder from Minneapolis to Portland. I also took Amtrak's train/bus service to get to Vancouver, BC and Seattle. I flew home to complete my vacation. For me, when it's time to get home I want to get home quickly, and I figured that a long delay on a train is worse than a long delay on a plane, so it seemed safer to fly home.

In North Dakota, we had a delay for a freight train to pass so Amtrak shortened the subsequent scheduled stops considerably. Thankfully I'm not a smoker, so it didn't create an emergency situation for me, but it would have been nice to have more fresh-air-and-stretch stops on the trip. We arrived in Portland roughly on time.

As this was a two night trip, I splurged for the roomette. If it was one overnight, I might have tried it in coach, but two nights tipped my hand to the sleeper. For a single ticket, it was roughly comparable to the cost of a first class plane ticket; if you are a couple sharing a roomette it was more economical than first class flying. Meals were included and much, much better than the alleged cheeseburger I was served in first class on my plane ride home.

The workers on the train were fun and engaging. It takes a special type of person to do this sort of work so I don't think it was an anomaly. Personally, I'm glad I did the trip. If you're seriously considering a train trip, I think you just need to try it for yourself. Otherwise, you won't know if you like it or not. Cheers :sharebeer
Posts: 1447
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:39 am

Re: Cross-country trip via Amtrak

Post by feh »

Spent 24 hours on Amtrak summer of 2017. Sleeper is a must.

It was fun, since I hadn't done it before. However, the novelty wears off. Going across the entire country may be tedious.

If you choose to do this, I suggest flying back home.
Post Reply